Oh Kishan mere…happy birthday!

Krishna, Kishan, Madhav, Banke Bihari, Gopala, Kanhaiya, Ranchhod, Parthasarathy, Ishvara…the many names and the many facets of the personality of the most loved God in the Hindu pantheon – Sri Krishna.

The Madhurāshtakam of Sri Vallabhacharya sounds like a bit excessive at first glance. The lyrics have too much sweetness in them, it is literally in every line.

But then, “Madhuram” does not mean sweet – it doesn’t translate into English very well.

The attitude of a devotee expressing the emotion that exists between a lover and the beloved; the devotee looks upon God as his Beloved – this is Madhuram.

The English word ‘sweet’ cannot come close to this meaning, nor can any word in the English language. You have to read the original version, and then close your eyes and meditate on each line.

Krishna Bhakti is not devotion, it is not singing praises in his name, nor is it about keeping a fast for him.

Krishna bhakti is total and unconditional surrender.

Not a WhatsApp forward on his janma-tithi, not a visit to a Radhe-Krishna temple once in a while…but total immersion in his name.

Krishna was a purna-avatara – a complete avatar, a complete representation of the Universal consciousness. One that showed us the path to divinity – actually four paths or yogas. The easiest, and the most difficult of all – he said – is bhakti.

No fasting, no tapas, no going to the forest and engaging in endless austerities – just call out my name, he said.

But the most difficult. Because fasting, tapas and austerity can have ego attached to them – can be pure, but not 100%.

Calling out his name, on the other hand, is the most challenging. For one should have a heart filled with him to the brim, and it is not your voice but your whole being that should yearn for him. A thirst beyond any thirst that you have experienced, a joy beyond any joy that you have known. Where the ego is completely absent – where the senses are relaxed and the mind is still – where there is a true experience of oneness with each and every living and non-living thing…where there is no “I”…where there is no “you” as well…

There, in the darkness of the night of the senses, in tranquility, you will find him. All you will need to do…

is to just call out his name. And he will be present.

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु |
मामेवैष्यसि युक्त्वैवमात्मानं मत्परायण: || 34||

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣhyasi yuktvaivam ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ

Always think of Me, be devoted to Me, worship Me, and offer obeisance to Me. Having dedicated your mind and body to Me, you will certainly come to Me.

Bhagavad Gita 9.34

श्री कृष्ण जनमष्टमी की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएँ!

जय श्री कृष्ण!